About Citation Analysis:
Exercise & Conclusions

When researchers study citation behaviors, one of the approaches they use is called “citation context analysis.”  Researchers look at the text surrounding bibliographic references in an article, to determine how the authors are using material from earlier publications.

You probably do this yourself when reading a paper, especially the introduction and discussion.  If the author states that something is a seminal work in your field, or that a good review was published recently, you might conclude that these are important papers for you to locate.

Download and read through the following research paper and pay attention to the text next to a bibliographic reference. To get you started, some sections of the text that illustrate different reasons or types of citations have been highlighted. In some cases, a text box has been inserted that describes the type of citation.

Other areas are highlighted without an explanation to give you the opportunity to reflect on the possible reason that a work is being cited.
  Also, look at the bibliography to get more information about why an article might be cited. 

Use this information to develop a list of reasons why scholars in education cite papers.  There is space in the workbook for your observations.

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Citation Analysis

Despite controversy, the practice of collecting and using data about articles, bibliographies, and citations is commonly used in evaluating the productivity and impact of individual researchers, departments and institutions, and even countries.
Citation analysis is the term used for this activity, and bibliometrics is a term applied to the broader study of citation patterns.  In order to collect citation information, a database or other tool needs to gather data from the bibliographies of papers and connect the information to other papers in the database. 

The practice of citation analysis, and the first citation database, were founded by Eugene Garfield in 1950s-1960s.  This set of databases was called the Science Citation Index, Social Sciences Citation Index, and Arts and Humanities Citation Index. The next unit in this module will introduce these and other tools that contain citation data.

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